Monday, October 01, 2012

Falling in Love--Over and Over Again (& Win Some Books!)

Do you fall in love with some of the characters in your favorite books? Did you know that authors also fall in love with their characters?

I hadn't thought about this until I started doing interviews for two upcoming online tours (because yes, I have new book releases coming in both October and November). One of the questions that keeps popping up is: Who's the favorite character you've written, and why?

It's almost like asking a parent to name a favorite child. By the time a book hits the shelves, an author has lived with those characters for months, often years. Some exasperate us. Some, I hate to say, we end up hating. But at least once in every book, I fall in love.

With six novels and three novelettes under my belt now (yeah, peanuts compared to a lot of you guys!), I decided to see if I could pick which of my characters I love the most, and why.

In no order, and recognizing the answers could change tomorrow....

From my Sentinels of New Orleans series:

DJ Jaco, the New Orleans wizard who's the heroine of this urban fantasy series "with romantic elements." My editor calls DJ a chaos magnet, and she is, often because she leads with her heart, not her head. She also has a wicked sense of humor, creative problem-solving skills, and a ingrained distrust of authority. Books: Royal Street, River Road (coming November 13).

Rene Delachaise, a Cajun merman with bottle-nosed dolphin tattoo he has on his...um...well, let's just say tattooing that bottlenose had to hurt. In my urban fantasy world, merpeople are aquatic shapeshifters, and Rene won me over with his prickly sense of humor and ability to get under DJ's skin. Books: River Road and the novelette "Chenoire," coming online as a free read in late October. (Did I mention Rene has a twin brother, Robert, and runs a shrimp boat out of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana?)

Jean Lafitte, the undead version of the early 19th-century pirate given immortality by the magic of human memory. Hands down one of the most fun characters to write and also the most challenging. Jean is incorrigible, mercurial, charming, sexist, violent, smart, cagey...and sexy as sin. He is French, after all, oui? He's challenged Johnny Depp to a duel, by the way, but so far, "Monsieur Depp, that blackguard," has not responded. Books: Royal Street, River Road, and a novelette, "The Battle of New Orleans, Part Deux," available for download later this fall.

From my Penton Legacy paranormal romance series written as Susannah Sandlin:

Mirren Kincaid. He's a 6-8, 300-pound vampire who still carries Faolain, the sword from his human days as a Scottish gallowglass mercenary. He's also taciturn, stubborn, and has a really foul mouth. Another wicked sense of humor, though, and despite an ugly, violent past, Mirren has a strength and nobility that shine through. He's the only one who can't see it. Books: Redemption and Absolution (coming out October 9).

Glory Cummings. Glory might be my favorite female character ever. She's a human of Muscogee Creek descent, and is the perfect woman to tame Mirren Kincaid (just don't tell Mirren). Glory is practical, down-to-earth, plain-spoken, independent, and fiercely loyal. Also very funny and not the least bit afraid of a 6-8, 300-pound vampire. Book: Absolution.

Will Ludlam. He was a 22-year-old college student in 1969 when he was turned vampire by his own father. He's a ladies' man, is brilliant, is so handsome he's almost pretty, and carries some very, very dark secrets. He covers them up with a smart-aleck sense of humor and by not letting anyone get too close. Will is probably the most complex character I've written, the one I had the most trouble getting to "talk" to me. Books: Redemption and Absolution (the third book in the series, Omega, will feature Will as the hero).

So that's my favorites. If you're a writer, which characters have you fallen in love with? (Please don't tell me I'm the only one!) If you're a reader, have you fallen in love with someone in a favorite book?

One commenter today will win a set of signed print books: Royal Street, Redemption, and Absolution.

34 comments:

Lisa J said...

Mirren's book is on preorder right now and I can't wait to read it. Something about Mirren grabbed me from the first time he showed up in Redemption. It's great to read he's one of your favorites, too. Must mean he gets a great story.

I'm also looking forward to Will's book. There's the whole feel bad about the evil dad vibe happening with Will.

SandyG265 said...

I've never fallen in love with a character in a book.

Meda White said...

I admit I crush on my own characters from time to time, and other writer's characters too. My first novel, which I am currently editing, has a secondary male character that I like so much, I wrote a novel for him. Don't get me wrong, he makes me mad sometimes. He is a stubborn male after all, but he's adorable anyway.

Thanks for sharing your "love" interests from your own work.

Naima Simone said...

You are so right, Suzanne! I fall in love with my characters all the time! And sometimes, if I'm struggling to finish a book, I can be on the serious outs with one! Choosing which is my favorite though is hard...right now--like at this moment--I guess my favorite would have to be the heroine in the book I just finished. Her name is Sinead and she's a "Black Angel". Well she used to be. She's now human, sarcastic, addicted to t.v. and movies, and can kick tail!! I love her... Boo, Suzanne! Unfair question. Why am I sitting here feeling guilty?? LOL!!

Awesome post and I'm counting down the days 'til "Absolution" releases!!

Amanda K. said...

I do fall in love with my characters. Sometimes when a secondary character waltzes onto the page I feel like I am "cheating" when I find myself loving them more than my main characters. ;)

Ingrid Seymour said...

Ooh, Mirren sounds really cool! I'd fall in love with him :)

I'm really in love with the female protagonist in my latest novel. She's a kick-ass hacker, with an attitude. I like that she's independent, sarcastic and doesn't do melodrama.

Congratulations on the new releases!

Suzanne Johnson said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone!

Thanks, Lisa--hope you like Mirren's story. Loved Mirren from the start. Will gave me fits but he had some dark, dark secrets he was hiding!

Sandy...uh-oh. Maybe I'm just weird?

Meda...Good! I'm glad I'm not the only one. And getting mad at the stubborn males we love just goes along with it :-)

Naima--Sinead sounds like a great character! And I'm intrigued by black angel who's now human. Like it!

Amanda--that's exactly what happened with Mirren. I was in the middle of writing Redemption, Aidan's book, and fell in love with Mirren. I had trouble shutting him up! Same thing happened with Jean Lafitte in the UF books. He was originally only supposed to be in one scene. Uh, didn't happen.

Ingrid--a kickass hacker HAS to be cool!

Roger said...

As a reader I do like some characters a lot. Wouldn't say love but like. Started with Ivy, then Rachel in Kim Harrison's books. Like DJ in Royal Street and Krys in Redemption. Really getting excited about meeting Glory in Absolution. Soon now!

Suzanne Johnson said...

I think you'll love Glory, Roger. The interactions between her and Mirren are really funny. I have a blog coming up on the Absolution tour on Friday where my vampires talk about their favorite vampire characters. I believe Ivy's name comes up as someone's favorite :-)

biochemguy said...

I've fallen in love a few times over years of reading with the characters within. I'm looking at you Sevy from Sarah-Jane Lehoux's books. ;)

Alison said...

I fall in love with characters all the time. Its part of the reason I read romance :)

Suzanne Johnson said...

@biochemguy--great to see you over here! I don't know those books so I just looked them up. I like a good fantasy thief! They sound great.

@allison...I know. Sigh. I keep hoping the Black Dagger Brotherhood are real. Don't tell me otherwise.

Carin said...

I fall in love with characters all the time I think the first one would be Lestat but I find someone to love in most books I get sucked into :O) Carin

bn100 said...

Great list of characters. I don't really fall for book characters.

bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

miki said...

i love the fragily of Mirren and i fancy a bit Will but he is still a bit too immature for me ( he progresses)

Bama said...

I fall for characters all the time! lol

Suzanne Johnson said...

@Carin...I remember having a Lestat crush back in the day myself! (Not the movie version, though--eek.)

@bn100...It's interesting how some folks get really emotionally invested in the characters and some don't. It's probably a weird writer thing, but these people start feeling real to me after a while. (cut nutty music)

@Miki...Will is a smart-mouthed, silly guy. But he has some dark, dark secrets and hurtsm and he uses that tough humor to hide behind. He really grows in Omega!

@Bama...Me too! Glad I'm not alone :-)

Heather said...

I become OBSESSED with characters all the time. You are not alone :)

Heather

P.S. I'm grumpy REDEMPTION isn't available for the Nook. What's up with that ?!?!?!?

Suzanne Johnson said...

Ack, Heather, don't get me started on the Nook! My publisher, Montlake Romance, is owned by Amazon, so B&N refuses to carry the titles digitally. Which sucks, but there it is. B&N only has the paperback and the audiobook, and they won't sell those in their stores even though they're being distributed like any other book. It's a war out there.

Tawnya Peltonen said...

As a reader I fall in love with characters ALL THE TIME!!! One of my favorite characters ever, who I'm actually very possessive of, is Nix Birmingham, a character in Gracen Miller's Road to Hell series.

Thanks for the giveaway! I would love to win these books. I'm always looking for new characters to fall in love with.

lovey_20_81@hotmail.com

Suzanne Johnson said...

@tawnya....Ooh, I don't know Nix...but I think I need to!

Arleigh said...

I don't fall for all the (Male) characters in book i read but there are some that just stand out above the rest, I fall for some to the point its kinda creepy though most of the one's i fall for are Bad boys with a soft side, cops or FBI, and a Vampire or two from my favorite Vamp filled series and even a Fairy in another series! but I have to say I fall for Most Cowboys, those are my guilty pleasure all time fave reads!

RestlessRedRoses@comcast.net

Jane said...

I always fall in love with the heroes from Lisa Marie Rice's books. They're the alpha heroes we always seem to be attracted to.

Shadow said...

I usually fall in love with the characters (mainly the hero, hehe) when i read a book. :)

JoAnn said...

I'm constantly falling for the heroes in the books I read. Not a big fan of the bad boys (they really scare me!), but the strong silent type gets me every time. :-)

RedPeril said...

I'm an odd duck. I like to read about the relationships, and even identify with a few characters here and there . . . but I don't fall easily or often.

I do, however, have a huge weakness for the mystique of a masked/helmeted/otherwise identity ambiguous hero or anti-hero of few words. After reading K.W. Jeter's Bounty Hunter series, I completely fell for Boba Fett. (And no, they're not even remotely romance. >.<)

~Angela Blount

Suzanne Johnson said...

@Arleigh...Almost every character I fall for in the books I read are bad boys. There's just something about a bad boy...sigh.

@Jane...I'm ashamed to admit I haven't read any of her books. But I need to check them out if they swoon-worthy heroes.

@Shadow...Join the club! I think one reason I like series so much is that I get to keep reading about the ones I fall for.

@JoAnn...Ah, the flip side of the "bad boy." I always fall for the bad boys in books. In real life? Um, not so much.

@Angela...Oh yeah, a silent, masked character of mystery. Definitely good material. I have a crush on Thomas Raith in the Dresden series, and those books are not even vaguely akin to a romance, so I get it.

Na said...

Falling in love with a character or all of them is a sign the book is bound to be my favorite. It's important that I care and can conect with them. The characters become very dear to me.

Cari Hislop said...

I have a maternal love for all my characters (even the evil ones), but some walk into my head fully formed (as if arriving from some other plane of reality) and I fall in love every time. If they tried to make me choose between them my heart would break into numerous pieces.

marybelle said...

I've had major crushes on characters. Not sure it was love though.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Desere said...

Falling in love with characters is something that happens for me all the time ! Usually it is a damaged hero that needs the right woman to rescue him or a strong heroine that can stand her ground.

You are definitely not alone ! Thank you for the give away !

Faith said...

The first character I ever fell in love with was Tamora Pierce's Alanna in 4th grade. Since then, there have been many, many more...

Barbara E. said...

I love lots of the characters in my favorite books, but I can't say I'm in love with them. I just really enjoy reading about them and they stay with me after I'm finished with the book.

Barbed1951 at aol dot com

Suzanne Johnson said...

Thanks for all the great comments, guys!

I'm happy to announced that MEDA WHITE has been chosen by random.org to win the signed set of my books. Congrats, Meda--I hope you enjoy them!